Aims: As the potential impact of statins on cognitive decline and dementia is still debated, we conducted a meta-analysis of observational studies to examine the effect of statin use on the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia.
Methods and results: PubMed, Cochrane, and EMBASE were searched since inception to January 2021. Inclusion criteria were: (i) cohort or case-control studies; (ii) statin users compared to non-users; and (iii) AD and/or dementia risk as outcome. Estimates from original studies were pooled using restricted maximum-likelihood random-effect model. Measure of effects were reported as odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). In the pooled analyses, statins were associated with a decreased risk of dementia [36 studies, OR 0.80 (CI 0.75-0.86)] and of AD [21 studies, OR 0.68 (CI 0.56-0.81)]. In the stratified analysis by sex, no difference was observed in the risk reduction of dementia between men [OR 0.86 (CI 0.81-0.92)] and women [OR 0.86 (CI 0.81-0.92)]. Similar risks were observed for lipophilic and hydrophilic statins for both dementia and AD, while high-potency statins showed a 20% reduction of dementia risk compared with a 16% risk reduction associated with low-potency statins, suggesting a greater efficacy of the former, although a borderline statistical significance (P = 0.05) for the heterogeneity between estimates.
Conclusion: These results confirm the absence of a neurocognitive risk associated with statin treatment and suggest a potential favourable role of statins. Randomized clinical trials with an ad hoc design are needed to explore this potential neuroprotective effect.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Meta-analysis; Observational studies; Statins.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.